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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Weed and Insect Biology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397622

Research Project: Enhancing Pollinator Health and Availability Through Conservation of Genetic Diversity and Development of Novel Management Tools and Strategies

Location: Weed and Insect Biology Research

Title: Bee diversity and abundance in perennial irrigated crops and adjacent habitats in central Washington state

item Grula, Courtney
item RICHARD, ZACK - Washington State University
item WALSH, DOUGLAS - Washington State University

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/17/2023
Publication Date: 3/26/2024
Citation: Grula, C.C., Richard, Z.S., Walsh, D.B. 2024. Bee diversity and abundance in perennial irrigated crops and adjacent habitats in central Washington state. Florida Entomologist.

Interpretive Summary: Bees are agriculturally and economically important for providing pollination services. High pollinator diversity benefits agricultural systems by increasing crop yield. Our study aimed to determine the abundance of different pollinators in Central Washington, as well as determine the impact of farming practices on pollinators. Bee abundance and diversity was measured in many different agricultural types including blueberry fields, Concord and wine grape vineyards, spearmint and peppermint fields, and hopyards. We also measured bee abundance and diversity in nearby non-agricultural sites. Majority of bees found in this region were solitary, ground nesting bees. Bees preferred areas of less agricultural intensification, and the crop that was most preferred by pollinators was mint. With concern over the decline in pollinator communities, results from this study can help inform what bees are present in Washington State to determine potential population loss.

Technical Abstract: Pollinators are critical to ecosystem health and agricultural productivity. Endemic bee diversity and abundance among different crops has not been extensively studied, especially among perennial crops in Washington state. This study investigated bee diversity and abundance in organically produced blueberry fields, conventionally produced Concord and wine grape vineyards, conventionally produced spearmint and peppermint fields, and conventionally produced hopyards. Less disturbed sites with an open water source in proximity to these agricultural sites were also monitored. The goals of this study were to characterize bee diversity in South-Central Washington state, determine the use of crop types by pollinators, and determine if farming practices influence abundance and diversity. The majority of bees found in the study were solitary and ground-nesting. Mint fields had the highest pollinator abundance and richness. Hop and grape sites had the highest genera evenness. In general, there was a greater abundance, diversity, and richness of bees found in unmanaged compared to managed sites.